I’m one lucky guy! Not only have I been blessed with a terrific immediate family, I also have a wonderful family of theatre folks. The woman who brought me into the local theatre fold, Patsy Hester Daussat, is also my “After The Hat (Working Title)” writing partner and a very clever collaborator. And the woman who I consider to be an undiscovered directorial star, Terri Hagar Sherer, made a dream come true bringing my musical about radio to life. Love her to death as well!
Our original draft of “Hat” was about 20 pages that Patsy had crafted over a weekend. Basic plot: Rock band; boy meets girl, boy loses girl to drugs, boy gets sobered-up girl back. Was originally set in current times but after a conversation with Lyric Stage theatre producer Steven Jones, we decided to set the story in the 1970’s. So I took the script and embellished what Patsy had written. We had a reading in the summer of 2010 and got some excellent feedback from the actors. One thing was apparent: the main love story didn’t grab anyone’s attention. And in fairness to Patsy and me, we are writing a hybrid jukebox musical.
What DID cause a lot of hubbub was the secondary love story between Anthony, a young man in the band and Evangeline, a late 40’s gypsy from the Broadway stage. In fact, Terri Hagar Scherer played Evangeline like a rock star! All the actors at the reading wanted to talk about this relationship and where it was going. Our hero and heroine were left by the roadside. 🙁
So, thinking the hero needed more conflict (have read The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Volger a couple times dontcha know) we created Peter, a Machiavellian character who is the leader of the band–he’s the boyfriend to our heroine until our hero shows up. Yeah baby! Bad guy who gets his comeuppance! Hero wins girl in the end. Get Charles Baker–you know, Skinny Pete from Breaking Bad to play Peter? Heck he can sing his ass off too! Response from readers? Yawn….
Oy vey! WHAT is it going to take to get this story to work?!?
So I moved the story back to 1963. Hmm, the music could be arranged in a retro style. Might be kinda fun to haul out the Farfisa organ patch and Abbey Road drum set! Spent a couple days outlining Ruby! The Musical based on Jack Ruby the club owner who killed Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Response from readers? Yawn. Even worse, my Radio! The Musical co-creator and talented tunesmith Steve Taylor didn’t think anyone would remember Jack Ruby. What?!? O.K. It happened nearly 50 years ago. But still…
Back to family. Throughout the whole process of creating the “Hat” script, my very patient and fastidious sister Mary has carefully read, corrected and even contributed lines to each rendition of our story. I think she secretly wants to write the Great American Novel and gets her ya-yas working on our script. Whatever her motivation, her skills as a reader and editor have been invaluable. Mary even took our heroine on a Farrah Fawcett/Burning Bed journey by making Peter an abuser of women. Egad! Where is this script headed? The Oprah Channel? More next time!